The Vikings named it Waesfjord (meaning ‘harbour of mud flats’) and its handy location near the mouth of the Slaney encouraged landings as early as AD 850. The Normans captured the town in 1169; traces of their fort can still be seen in the grounds of the Irish National Heritage Park.
Cromwell included Wexford in his Irish tour from 1649 to 1650. Around 1500 of the town’s 2000 inhabitants were put to the sword, including all the Franciscan friars – the standard treatment for towns that refused to capitulate. During the 1798 Rising, rebels made a determined, bloody stand in Wexford town before they were defeated.